Friday, September 29, 2017

Depend On Me Writing For 31 Days In October

What shall I write about for 31 Days?

Two years ago Brené Brown's book Rising Strong was released in September. I gobbled it up. Then I slowly unpacked it as I wrote everyday, in October, about what I was learning from her words and the life experiences of people she interviewed. She is a research professor in Houston, Texas and has some very eye opening information about how we relate to others and ourselves.

It is September again, two years later, and her new book, Braving The Wilderness, is on my nightstand and the unpacking has begun. Join me, everyday in October, and let me encourage you to see how the quest for true belonging is possible. Read the book yourself to see what you think

This is my Title Page and Table of Contents. Come back here to catch up.

October 3- True Belonging

October 4- The Desire For True Belonging In the Wilderness

October 5- Trusting Yourself In The Wilderness 

October 6- A Story of Two Sides

October 7- Loneliness

October 8- People Are Hard To Hate Close Up. Move In.

October 9- Beware of dehumanizing images and language

October 10- Conflict Transformation

October 11- There's No Going Back

October 12- Listening To Understand

October 13- An Invitation To Find Truth

October 14- You Are Either With Me Or You Are My Enemy

October 15- Being Civil

True belonging is what we all yearn for and what we mistakenly think should come form others.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Inviting My Students to Develop Grit

What is grit? 
How do I invite my students to get some?

In a previous post I wrote about nurturing my piano students with compassion as they started school again. But, now I am singing the opposite tune. Am I sending a conflicting message?


     Human nature looks for the path of least resistance and when it comes to learning to play the piano there is plenty of resistance. I find myself resisting the truth that playing slowly, without mistakes, leads to solid learning. I resist the truth that learning is not incremental. One day all the stars align and I sound awesome. The next day, I can't remember the notes. Yikes! Do I really have to practice everyday? 

Nurturing grit is just as compassionate as consolation for a rough row to hoe. They are not mutually exclusive. I expect them both of myself.

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click 

Friday, September 22, 2017


Accepting the less than organized, planned life might illuminate the better way.

Yesterday I heard some clicking inside the engine of my older car while waiting in a ferry line. My first thought was that something had come loose and I was in for a disaster. I felt a rush of dread and in that moment decided to pull put of line and head home. 

  In the moments of turning toward home I reviewed and simplified my thought pattern. What was I missing by letting these negative thoughts about a vehicle, of which I knew  very little, influence my plan for the day. I needed to accept that this car was not always going to run perfectly but not abandon my trust in myself, really, that I could handle the circumstances even if I had a break down with the car. I wanted to control my situation so carefully so that I would never have to deal with discomfort. Just as I was simplifying my thoughts the clicking stopped. Okay! I went back to the ferry and continued on with a beautiful day. Lesson learned until it happens again.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.   

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Inviting My Students To Act

How do I invite my students to act instead of acting upon them?

It is nurturing Monday and this month I am exploring ways to nurture my students. Nurture is my word this year. I teach 7-8 year olds in church every Sunday. They are normal, active kids who often are bored out of their minds. We do way too much talking at them and less engaging their busy heads. 

   There is a message I want to give each week but I try to find ways to teach that message while they are involved. Journals allow me to get out the paper, pencils, scissors and glue to invite them to create something for themselves out of the message.

    Do you ever wonder how much your students recall from week to week? If you teach in any capacity you might want a new way to review material you have covered. Here is a fun way. I call it Scripture Man but you could call it anything. 

This game requires knowledge but luck is also a factor in winning. Here are the rules.

Make a list of 10 questions which have one word answers. 

Assign each question a grid coordinate, i.e.; A-7, B-10, F-12

Pass out the Scripture Man handout and have them fill out the grid with the little pictures. The coveted point is scripture man which they can only place once, worth 50 points. The dreaded points are the three bombs which would wipe out all the previous points they earn.

I ask the question and they write down their answer. When all have answered I tell them that if they answered correctly they could have all the points on the coordinates which were assigned to that question. For example; you may have all the points assigned to the star if you put it there on B-4.

Then we go on to question number 2, and ect.
After question 10 everyone adds up their points and the Scripture Man is rewarded, or just applauded.

Scripture Man Template and an older student version

  It is while I have them all engaged that I can teach extended principles. Children listen when they are invited to act for themselves. This isn't easy but each week I hope to nurture these children further.

To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Support As A Product Of Nurturing

 Lend me your support. Hold me up, just for now.

Just like a product of peanuts is peanut butter, so support is a product of nurturing. I hope you don't have a nut allergy. My word of the year is "nurture" and I have learned much in nine months about how I nurture, what I nurture, and who I nurture. Nurture in 2017

In the month of September I chose to nurture my piano students. We had weeks of separation during the summer and as they come back to lessons I hear "this is hard" frequently. 

   Rather than feeling frustrated in losing skills I'm holding them up, just for now. With a bigger smile, an engaging game, a piece of music trivia to remember, or an honest admission that I lose skill too sometimes and I feel sad that what I could do easily is hard again, I hold them close. 
   I learned how to do that from God. He often just holds me up and lets me rest in the peace of knowing that he loves me. 

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pacing My Work

       Nurturing my students  in September

My work is helping students to love the piano. My calling is to teach. Since grade school I desired to be a teacher. What I would teach and where was up in the air, even after college. Now, after 30 years, my calling is sure and my work clear. 

The month of August was a recovery month. I had a knee replacement so September requires a different pace. Hopefully my pace will be not too much slower but more deliberate. 

Right out of the gate I wanted a focus. Our work this fall as a studio will be to explore the Baroque period from 1600-1750. Being a court musician was serious work back then, ha! ha! What might be just old fashioned music is also intriguing style including dance, composing, and art. 

With the fancy wigs this week my pace will increase next week to digging into a Baroque piano piece, learning more about the times in Europe, and finding out how Bach stayed so popular for four hundred years.

I am so glad to be back to work.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.

Friday, September 1, 2017


                      Who is thy neighbor?

      There is a Community Care Home down the street from me. Elderly neighbors live there and I was invited to come regularly to play music. I connected with some really warm hearted musicians who shared so openly. They even embraced some of my piano students who came to learn how to accompany. 

    At first as I involved myself with this group I had to deal with my own sadness. I met with people who I had known before their decline into memory loss. It was hard for me to "look loss in the face". Really, the weeks of holding back was about my own unwillingness to see my mortality. At some point I felt the impression to look at how I could contribute better. I started observing more and pulling away less. I saw how some people waited, while others chatted and embraced. 
I learned how to be a better neighbor.

 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday group for more than three years and I really enjoy the talented writers who share themselves each week.